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As Ukraine war drags on, Russia removes military age limits

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Russian lawmakers passed legislation eliminating the existing age limit on serving in the military on Wednesday.

Russian military service had previously been limited to those between 18 and 40 years old, but the new legislation removes the upper limit. Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to sign the legislation into law, however. 

“Today, especially, we need to strengthen the armed forces and help the Ministry of Defense. Our Supreme Commander is doing everything to ensure that our armed forces win, and we need to help,” State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to female flight attendants in comments broadcast on state television on Saturday, March 5, 2022. 
(Reuters Video)

The Russian military has sustained heavy losses since opening its invasion of Ukraine in February. Estimates suggest the country’s military has lost 15,000 soldiers, with up to 35,000 others wounded, according to the U.K. foreign ministry.

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Russia’s war in Ukraine has faltered in recent weeks, with Putin withdrawing his forces from around the capital city of Kyiv and focusing the east.

Russian service members march during a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022. 

Russian service members march during a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)

The U.K. defense ministry has also reported that Russia removed several top military commanders for poor performance in the Ukraine invasion.

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“Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine will likely be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational setbacks,” the ministry said. “It will be difficult for Russia to regain initiative under these conditions.”

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